On July 14, 2008, three days after the official international launch date, I purchased an iPhone 3G.
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I went to check the iphone.movistar.es page to find the local dealers in Bilbao and Santander that were selling iPhones to call them up and check if they had any available. But to my surprise, there was a store in nearby Laredo listed! I called them up in the morning to ask if they had any iPhones and they said that a shipment was due “either this afternoon or tomorrow morning”. So I said I’d be in the next morning to buy one.
On a whim, I called them again in the afternoon and they said that they had received a shipment and that only two remained!! So I rushed upstairs, woke Marga from her afternoon siesta, and we raced to Laredo. We parked and walked briskly to the Telefonica shop.
Me: “Hi, I called about the iPhones. Do you have any left?”
Clerk: “Sorry, we don’t have any and won’t until probably September.”
Me [horrified]: “What?!? I just called and you said you had some!”
Clerk: “No, we haven’t had any had any all day.”
Me: “But! Is this not your number?” [showing her my last dialed number on my previous crappy mobile]
Clerk [not really looking]: “Sorry, but we don’t have any.”
Dismayed, I pressed dial on my mobile and spoke to the person I’d been talking to. I asked where their store was and they told me they were two blocks away. So we rushed out of the store and walked as quickly as we could to the other store, Marga laughing the whole way at my enthusiasm. Finally we got to the store that had a big “The iPhone you’ve been waiting for! Now available!” poster on it. I rushed in and the clerk immediately recognized me as the wide-eyed enthusiastic gent with the funny accent he’d been talking to on the phone.
Clerk: “There’s only one left.”
Clerk: “It’s 8 GB. Is that okay?”
Me [visibly disappointed]: “Hmmm. I really wanted the 16 GB.”
Clerk: “They’re shipping me one tomorrow.”
Me [enthusiastic again]: “Great! What time!??”
Clerk: “Hard to say. I just sold the last 16 GB to this gentleman here.”
Other Dude: “Wait, this is 16 GB? I really wanted 8 GB, but you told me all you had was 16 GB!”
Clerk: “Oh, well, no, I can give you this other one, then.”
Me [incredible luck of the situation dawning across my face]: “Perfect!”
He told us to take a walk for 20 minutes while he finished up activating the other dude’s iPhone. We went for a walk on the beach and returned. There were problems immediately. The system wasn’t letting him select the contract I wanted, etc. etc. To make a long and complicated story very short, the entire process took us 3 hours, with a failure of some sort at every step, between walking in the door and walking out the door, 15 minutes after the store closed, with the new iPhone. They only shipped four iPhones to that store and I bought the last one. Apparently there’s some attempt to play hard to get to build mystery or something. The stupid software required two surnames, as is the Spanish custom, so my phone bills will come to Erik Rasmussen Rasmussen. Awesome. Ras2!